Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had nothing but praise for the Western Cape as it celebrated its matric results in a ceremony on Tuesday.
She surprised many when she attended the event, held in a marquee at Premier Helen Zille’s Leeuwenhof residence.
Addressing Zille and Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, she said: “I just want, most sincerely, to congratulate them for the leadership they have provided, but also for the good work the province does.
“When a province works hard and does well it has a very positive pull-up factor.”
The province attained an 84.7% matric pass rate, making it the country’s top performing province. Gauteng was close on its heels with an 84.2% pass rate.
As the only province to record an increase in the matric pass rate, Motshekga said the Western Cape had created “very healthy energy and competition”.
“It is very healthy taking lessons and getting advice from each other. It sets up a benchmark for all of us.”
Motshekga said she had warned Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi that the top spot for matric performance was highly contested, and that he would have to fight hard against an “extremely aggressive” Zille, Schäfer and Western Cape Head of Education Penny Vinjevold.
The three laughed at the description.
Lesufi had apparently planned to attend the ceremony, but cancelled due to last minute commitments.
Zille said it was the first time in her position that a national minister had accepted the invitation to their ceremony.
She described Motshekga as knowledgeable and someone who really cared about education.
According to Schäfer, there had been a steady improvement in the province’s quintile 1- 3 schools since 2009, which had the highest number of historically disadvantaged pupils.
For the first time, the average pass rate at these schools was above 70%, which was a significant milestone, she said.
No education district in the Western Cape performed below 80%. It also produced the best overall matric pupil, Andrew Tucker, from SA College High School (SACS) in Cape Town. News24